It’s that time of year again! Early snowflakes dancing! Scouts selling Christmas trees! And John Masterson sporting his famous moustache at Leaside Presbyterian Church!
Scouts at Leaside Presbyterian, annual Christmas tree sales, and John Masterson have been intertwined for nearly three decades. Scouting has been sponsored at the church since 1946, Christmas tree sales started in the early 1990s, and John arrived as a leader in January of 1993.
A full-page ad in the October issue of Leaside Life promotes Scouting for boys and girls, starting at age 5 – and promoting the joys of volunteering as a leader too. The current Scouting program at the 132nd starts with Beavers, then advances to Cubs and Scouts.
In John Masterson’s family, Scouting comes naturally. Both his parents were leaders at home in Scotland – his father in Scouting and his mother in Guiding. John fell into the 132nd when he was working at Rumble Pontiac, Buick, and part of his job was to take a snowplow around the neighbourhood to help out. He happened upon a crew hand-shovelling the parking lot of the church when it was Christmas tree sale time in December 1992, and proceeded to lend a hand, and a snowplow. He came back to sign up as a leader the next January. He’s been there ever since, long past the time his three children were involved.
Legend has it that in the early days of their Christmas tree sales, the kids and their leaders would go to a Christmas tree farm to cut trees one weekend, with the trees delivered for them to sell the next weekend. No longer. For the past 25 years, the trees have come from Drysdale Tree Farm, and this year, as in the past few years, they will all be six-to-eight-foot-tall Fraser firs. The usual order is 100 trees.
John was a youngster when his family moved to Saint John, New Brunswick, so you won’t hear a Scottish accent. After one year at the University of New Brunswick, he got a summer job at a camp in Ontario and has been here ever since. After a few false starts, he realized that car sales were the right fit for him – which led to Rumble Pontiac and living in Leaside –“a little town in the city.” Other positions called later, but John and family stayed in Leaside.
And what about John’s famous moustache? In the early 1970s, he had a full beard and flowing locks – his wedding photos provide proof. In the hot summer of 1972, he shaved and cut off everything, except the moustache. It was just an ordinary ’stache until 1978, when a manager said, “why don’t you curl your moustache? You look as if you’re moping.” So, there you have it, the man who is always smiling, courtesy of his premium moustache wax.